Because long weekend

This time of year in South Africa is packed full of public holidays. Human Rights Day, Good Friday, “Family Day” (eg. the day after Easter), Freedom Day and Worker’s Day. All in March/April/May. So I took full advantage, and exercised my Human Right to take an extra day off and make up a long weekend.

And it was crazy. The good kind of crazy, for the most part, that kind that makes you feel I am living.

After work I drove through to Bergvliet (in peak traffic, mind you – I had completely forgotten how hellish the drive back to the burbs was) to join Bryony and her hubby at a run/walk in aid of The Chaeli Campaign. It kicked off at the Bergvliet Sports Club, which springs some interesting, neon-related memories to mind (and it also made me realise that I may have been drunker than I thought that night… Seeing as I walked into the ladies’ bathroom on Wednesday and had that overwhelming feeling of What is this place? Still. It remains one of my favourite nights. Ever.) 

Anyway, we decided to skip the run and did the 4km walk instead, ’cause we had B’s dogs with us. And after, it was beer and a boerewors roll, before heading back to B’s for dinner. From there, I did a quick-change in her bathroom (I still cringe whenever I go in there, remembering my Epic Drunk Dial escapade. Oh, lordy) and headed out to a friend’s birthday drinks in Woodstock. Jess was well into the shots by the time we arrived, and I braved chocolate tequila and caramel vodka in the name of being a Good Friend.

I love buying presents. It's a  thing. I get especially thrilled when I find budget-friendly perfect gifts.

I love buying presents. It’s a thing. I get especially thrilled when I find budget-friendly perfect gifts.

And then, I managed to drop my R1200 glasses off the balcony. And all in the name of vanity. You see, somebody wandered up to the group that was hanging out on the balcony and wanted to take a picture. So I pushed my glasses on top of my head – with rather more vigour than anticipated – and felt them slide over the back of my head. I turned just in time to hear them crash to the floor a storey below, into the parking lot.

Of course, because I can’t actually see without the damn things, I ran around the flat shouting “I need someone with eyesight!  I need someone with eyesight!” Thankfully, I managed to find Christie (who has contact lenses) and we dashed downstairs. We found the frames quickly enough – sans one lens – and I was crawling around on my hands and knees in the parking lot, praying to the God of Optometry (he is a very cruel, greedy god) that the other lens was in one piece. It was. And I did a shrieky, giggly little jig out there in the parking lot. Hey, I never pretended to be cool. Christie managed to pop the lens back in and voila, the party continued.

We were all meant to head out to a place in town, but after scoping out the 200-odd people in the queue, changed our minds. Jay had volunteered to drive with me in my car and we drove down Long Street, stuck in traffic, with me getting him to hack Ingress portals on my phone while I drove. Like I said, no cool kids here. We eventually found out that Jess and company were at an ultra-dodgy dive on Long Street, but one look at her in the bathroom when we arrived and I knew it was time to get her out of there. And so I volunteered to drive her and her boyfriend home to Constantia, some 20 minutes away. Nobody objected, but nobody else jumped up to help either.

And because I was too wired after that, I drove home the ultra long way round… Around Camp’s Bay, taking in the lights and revelling in late night Cape Town. I’d had a long talk with Jess’ boyfriend in the car, and it actually opened up my eyes a little – in a very painful way, but it needed to be heard. And that was Wednesday.

Thursday I went to go see Quartet with Cait – was lovely just to bond, and it was quite a lovely cast and quite a lovely film, but not quite satisfactory. (Ack! Bad, Candace, bad! No mini-movie reviews, you’re on leave… ish!)

Friday, it was off to my first ever sunset show at Kirstenbosch Gardens. Stefan had texted in the morning with the offer of tickets for the Farryl Purkiss/Jeremy Loops/Xavier Rudd gig, so I reckoned heck yes. And it was stunning, and surprisingly healing… Although maybe that’s because we also had some major bitch-bonding time. The hippies were out in full force and the chilly wind brought a pretty heady smell of pot wafting over regularly. But it was an amazing show and a beautiful setting – and I’d definitely do it again. (Although ultra-top-tip: Definitely leave a few minutes before the set ends. You can hear the music for ages AND you don’t get stuck in the heaving crowds. Win!)

I <3 Cape Town

I ❤ Cape Town

Saturday I got a severe case of the Sads. I was meant to go film for work and got out to the location, then called it off. I was meant to go to the Biscuit Mill with Bryony, but she took a while to text and I could feel myself wanting to curl up into a teeny, tiny little ball and just go to sleep. Instead, Xanthe texted. Beer. Forries. Now. So I did – and beer turned into lunch and an awesome chill out with some great friends. Bryony eventually did text, and I of course immediately felt guilty for sorta bailing on her… If anybody would like to start work on a Time-Turner a la Harry Potter, that’d be good.

I then had to drive Sean out to Bergvliet for a beer pong tournament (true story) and raced back to get home in time before they started closing all the roads for the Bafana Bafana game. Now, living in Green Point is amazing. Seriously. But every time somebody wants to stage an event, they’re all like “Hey! Green Point is like, totes the place to do it.” I’m not kidding. This week, the roads were closed for soccer. Last week, for the “Cape Town Carnival” (Hiss. It made me miss Iain’s housewarming. Okay, well, Carnival and Xanthe & Timmy’s engagement. But, you know). The week before that? The Cape Argus. And the week before that? Pride. Madness, I tell you.

And then, because I am the World’s Best Sister, I drove out to pick him up at 12.30am again. It’s all good though, after Jay I know that road pretty much backwards, so hecking out there at that time of night is a piece of the proverbial cake.

And now it’s Sunday. Cait decided we should all go hiking this morning – fair enough. We mapped out a route to Tranquility Cracks, but none of us had counted on the wind. It started out well enough…

2013-03-24 07.18.24 2013-03-24 07.49.41 2013-03-24 08.16.29

But as we turned the corner into Corridor and got further up the ravine, we were nearly blown off the mountain. No, seriously. I was holding onto a rock, being buffeted backwards, completely astounded by the sheer stupidity of it all. After a hasty mid-hike conference, sanity prevailed, and we scuttled back down. We tried to warn other hikers (seriously, actual “gale force winds” is an effing safety hazard, people), and you’d be surprised at how few listened. Sure, you probably do this all the time, but all it takes is one gust of wind and a mis-step. It’s a long tumble back down to Camp’s Bay, people.

Anyway, we took the scenic, less fatal route back down.

2013-03-24 09.30.54

Anyway, I shall stop thrilling you with my weekend tales. I do, however, have a point to all of this.

Time with the people you love is one of the best reminders that you mean something. No matter how dull a grey the world is.

Also, choose plastic lenses.

 

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On having a hobby… Or not

After a surprisingly inspiring chat yesterday with J, I realised that I had been neglecting my blog quite horribly while dealing with the day-to-day dramas (Tom! Katie! OMG!), and not really making time for doing the things that make me happy – or, more importantly, things that will help me to better myself.

Added to that, the fact that T started ragging on me for “not having a hobby” (Which, J clarified, probably meant that I don’t do enough outdoorsy, sporty stuff), and I’m on a fresh wave of a desire for self-improvement and happiness.

(Of course, this has been slightly dented by the lack of network connection at the office. But, on the plus side: my desk is clean, my desktop has been reorganised, I’ve had two cups of coffee and I’ve beaten my record on Minesweeper. Booyah.)

Going back to the Hobbies Thing (it’s a thing now)… When I asked T what qualifies as a hobby, his response was “Something you love doing”. Therefore, I consider watching movies a hobby. (Which apparently it’s not, because it needs to be sporty/outdoorsy – and no, for some bizarre reason, yoga doesn’t count either. I’m confused too, don’t worry. I’m prepared to accept that drinking wine is not a hobby.)

I’ve written before on how I love the ritual of going to the cinema – although I do prefer it when it’s quiet, and not a packed screening. I love the moments that the lights go dark and the anticipation begins. I love watching trailers and trying to figure out the movie they’re advertising as quickly as possible. I love sprinkling the salt onto my popcorn (only one sachet at Nu Metro – two is far too much; though I prefer Ster Kinekor’s popcorn flavouring) and I love the fact that movie soft drinks are always well watered-down. And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Going to the movies is the closest thing to going to church that I’ll voluntarily experience.

Of course, a lot of my movie-going experiences fall under the banner of “work” – and while I love writing on movies, it does get quite difficult to hash out reviews week after week. Especially because the audience that I usually write for isn’t really interested in the intricacies of the film – they just want to know if the product is good, if the actors are good (are there any “big name” actors?)… Really, will the R50 they drop on a movie ticket be worth it. Are they interested in the cinematography, the lighting, the colour pallet, the direction? Sadly, not. I try to sneak it in where I can, but I’ve had to rein myself in – seeing as I went through phases of writing movie reviews clocking in at the 1800-word mark.

What is cool is that I’ve now gathered a small group of people that I know are always reading the reviews – which is inspiring. It’s always good to know that there are people taking the time to read the entire review, rather than just clicking in to see the rating before clicking out. (And it does mean I often sneak in something completely random for fun!)

But, at the end of the day, I love this. I love talking about films, pulling out random trivia and being a reference guide for my friends. (Although I do quite often get: “So what’s showing at the movies?” – as if I’ve memorised all the cinema schedules for Cape Town.)

My point is – and to quote Ellen Degeneres, I do have one – is that with the amount of time, love and energy I pour into movies: They’re a hobby.

Though I do have grand plans to take up knitting or something, too. I hear it’s quite soothing.

A Song of Ice and Fire… And minor obsession

Like millions and millions and millions of people, I recently became hooked on HBO’s Game of Thrones. And, being the type of person that would much rather read the book first, I got far too into George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

Daenerys

Daenerys / Emilia Clark

Anyway, this has led to many, many, many hours doing ASOIAF-related things and having ASOIAF-related discussions with X over gtalk instead of, hypothetically, doing work.

(We also regularly get “Shhhh’ed” by company when we try to discuss anything these days. It’s a problem. We actually have to schedule solo dates so that people stop yelling at us.)

I’m about to embark on the fourth book (A Feast for Crows) after having my mind utterly blown by Storm of Swords. So far I’ve found the books to be utterly, ridiculously good. Seriously – they’re complex, amazingly well-threaded and very, very dense. I couldn’t love them more if I tried.

But I think the favourite thing about ASOIAF has been the immense global community that has sprung up around it – with the tiniest niche groups being catered for. I’ve found tumblrs dedicated to fan art (seriously, the Game of Thrones tumblr is amazing), Instagrammified Game of Thrones art, a Hipster Game of Thrones tumblr (“We liked Game of Thrones before it went mainstream, you know?”), and a real-life Game of Thrones cookbook. Like, for real. With a blog and everything. (X and I are planning a Game of Thrones-themed dinner party. For real. With a menu even Tyrion would approve of.)

Tyrion

Tyrion – Peter Dinklage.

It’s funny how ASOIAF has creeped into so many day-to-day habits. As I read something incredible, I’ll text X. I’ll find myself going over favourite phrases in my mind, and pondering over crazy fan theories. And if I can’t resist, every now and then I’ll Google ahead and find out what happens to a favourite character. (I’m terrible, I know. So far, all of my favourites seem to still be alive. Hooray!) It’s even crept into my workplace. There’s a ring of huge ASOIAF/Game of Thrones fans in my office, which is awesome.

The last time I felt this passionately about a series of novels was the Harry Potter franchise – and although that changed my life entirely

On being five again

Easter eggs by Michael Mol, flickr.com

Last night we had an Easter egg hunt. Despite the fact that it’s over two weeks to Easter, it was 8pm, and we are all in our mid-twenties to early thirties.

C roped us around to her house, luring us with the promise of chocolate eggs and a braai to follow. After one or two glasses of wine, chili poppers in the oven and with three torches between us, six of us – two journalists, a philosophy student, one programmer, an engineer, one communications type and a get-fit-lose-weight-now specialist – clambered into the flowerbeds, rustled hedges and turned over pots like the seasoned egg-hunting professionals we are.

Sometimes you just need to just act like children again. For fifteen glorious minutes we giggled and shrieked and fell over roots and compared hauls – glad to be five years old again, where the biggest worry in the world was what cartoon was going to come on next.

After that, we retired to our normal – admittedly, more grown-up but still fun – selves. We drank wine, moaned over boyfriends and stalkers and work things, discussed current affairs and debated hot topics. All the while, nibbling the edges of marshmallow eggs and sucking on the smaller chocolate ones until the caramel center broke through.